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Norfolk Southern Corp. yesterday unveiled its annual report online, noting "early accomplishments" of the Class I's recently announced five-year strategic plan to drive growth, streamline operations and improve profit.
In his first annual report letter to shareholders since he became chief executive officer in 2015, President and CEO James Squires wrote that the railroad "has taken decisive and deliberate action to capitalize on significant growth opportunities within our unique network."He cited several cost-control measures and network improvements that the company has undertaken the past year, including: • closing the Roanoke, Va., office building and consolidating or relocating approximately 500 positions; • restructuring the company's Triple Crown Services subsidiary; • reducing capital spending; • expanding track rationalization in the coalfields; • idling a major lake coal terminal; and • consolidating two operating divisions."During this time, we achieved near all-time best service levels," wrote Squires. In addition, the company expanded its ability to serve markets in the Northeast by acquiring the Delaware & Hudson Railway Co.'s line between Sunbury, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y.Looking ahead, Squires said the company anticipates productivity savings of $130 million through cost controls and asset utilization."Annual savings will grow to more than $650 million by 2020. The projects we accomplished in 2015, together with the initiatives we are undertaking over the next five years, will position Norfolk Southern to achieve our long-term financial goals," Squires wrote.